Payton: Broncos didn't shop 'dynamic' Jerry Jeudy
Posted on: 06 Nov, 2023 at 09:11 PM
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos have parted with several veteran players during the course of their 3-5 start to the 2023 season, but coach Sean Payton said there was no effort to move wide receiver Jerry Jeudy ahead of last week's trade deadline.
The Broncos upset the Chiefs 24-9 at home for their third win in five games before heading into last week's bye. There was speculation that the embattled fourth-year wide receiver could be targeted by several contenders, but the deadline came and went with Jeudy still a Bronco.
"He's an important part and an important piece of what we're doing," Payton said Monday. "Shoot, he's a guy that we think is dynamic. Sometimes it's a fickle game in that all of a sudden, we're into the fifth week of the season and Brandon Johnson has three touchdowns and Jerry doesn't have one. Sometimes that's the nature of the passing game, but each week, there's a lot that goes into what we're game planning.
"He played extremely well last week, and we think he is going to be very important for us going forward."
Jeudy, 24, was a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2020 but has yet to meet lofty expectations. Denver picked up his fifth-year option after Jeudy caught a career-high 67 passes last year, but he has only 27 receptions for 336 yards and that lone touchdown through seven games this season.
However, Payton sees progress in the offense as a whole and Jeudy as part of the solution rather than part of the problem in Denver's slow start.
Jeudy is due to make $12.987 million in 2024 in the final year of his rookie deal. That made him a potentially attractive target for teams, but Payton wasn't picking up the phone to deal another veteran after the team had recently parted ways with pass rushers Randy Gregory and Frank Clark.
"I don't think my words prior to the trade deadline were ever, ‘Hey, we're staying pat.' It was, 'we're not the ones to be interviewed. Go ask the people that are purchasing,'" Payton said. "We kind of went through this in the offseason with a handful of players, and understandably so. In other words, I get it. It's harder for us to be the ones speaking on topics like that when we're not the ones that are involved in initiating any of the contact."
Payton sees improvement in the offense as a whole. That includes quarterback Russell Wilson, who is still getting comfortable in his third offensive system in three years.
Wilson, who will turn 35 on Nov. 29, has thrown for 1,613 yards with 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions. He is also on pace to be sacked 55 times, which would equal his career high from last season.
"The things we've seen that I've been encouraged with are the off-schedule plays. He does a great job of working the pocket, climbing the pocket," Payton said when asked to assess Wilson's play through eight games. "Then, continuing to look at reducing the turnovers, managing the game the right way and understanding who we're playing and how we're playing it -- all of those things.
"Every day he's working at it and working his tail off at it. There are a lot of things that we've been impressed with and that he's doing very well. There are some things that, obviously, he wants to improve on, and collectively, that we want to (improve on) offensively."
--Field Level Media